I think it's helpful to catch a glimpse into another way of life.
I like reading books, blogs, or watching movies that do that for me. Catching that glimpse, brings understanding for me. Understanding leads to changing how I respond to people in that situation.
That's the reason why I periodically post about mentally ill people. I know that lots of people have limited experience with them and just don't understand. In California, where I live, about 1/3 of the homeless population is mentally ill.
I have a sister who is a paranoid schizophrenic and I've run secured psychiatric facilities for 9 years.
Sometimes life is painful and there is not an apparent solution for a mentally ill person. I want to share about two recent experiences with my paranoid sister that underscore this truth.
My sister has a son who is in his 20s, just graduated from college, got married not too long ago, and he and his wife just had their first child. Since he graduated at a time when jobs are scare, he was blessed that the company he'd been working for, Target, offered him a promotion to be the head of security where he's been working for the past several years. This young man is a good guy and I really respect him because he's not had it the way he should growing up.
Not too long ago my paranoid sister, his mother, showed up at his work to see him. It was near the end of his work day so he asked her to come back in a little while and he'd take her to dinner. So she left and came back and he took her, his wife and the baby to dinner. She got to meet her grandson and they had an enjoyable evening. She came again to visit him at work soon after that and he talked to her very briefly but explained that she can not keep visiting him at work, that no one is allowed to be visiting at work because they are paid to be working. Well, she came back again the next day only he was in the middle of something and not even available to speak with her. She started arguing with the employees and ended up making some stupid statement about she'd bring a gun in and shoot them (the employees she was arguing with). Unfortunately, the employees did not call the police on her.
This is unfortunate because I had hoped that if they had, she would be deemed a danger to herself and others and therefor get taken to the hospital for mandatory 72 hour observation. I was hoping that observation would lead to the need for her to receive secured treatment where she could stabilize on medication. But they didn't call the police and she finally left. My nephew's boss heard about the whole thing and told him that she is not to come in there again and if she does, he must call the police or he will lose his job. My heart goes out to my nephew and I pray for him. He's under 25 yrs old; can you imagine how embarrassed he was to have this all go on at his work? Can you imagine how much it hurts to see his mom that way? Can you imagine the stress he must be experiencing regarding his job and the need to keep it so he can support his family?
This young man's sister, my paranoid sister's daughter, had a big birthday party for her son at their paternal grandmother's this weekend. My sister showed up before the party and was in a good frame of mind so she helped with the decorations. During the party she was delightful. She stayed on with them and was fine the next day. Then the following day she really lost it to the point where she went over to the next door neighbor's house and used their phone to put in an emergency call to the police to report that my niece, her husband and the other family there were beating her. My sister came back to their home and was yelling at them, carrying on and hitting herself and even slapped my niece. The police came, were really nice to my niece and her husband and said they recognized my sister because they'd recently had to remove her from a store where she'd caused a disturbance. My sister just left their house at that piont. My niece was understandably upset and just kept saying how she's never seen my sister that bad.
It's a frustrating situation. I'm glad we live in a country where the freedom of individual people is respected, and I don't necessarily want that changed. However, that same freedom causes so many problems when it comes to mentally ill people. No one can do anything about the fact that someone like my paranoid sister, who has thoughts that are not true that she acts upon, makes unwise decisions that put her at risk and hurt the ones she loves, continues to live in this sad manner - it's her right to live this way. Like many, many schizophrenics my sister refuses to take medication.
I've seen medication help so many schizophrenic people. But so many schizophrenics will not continue to take their medication. Today anti-psychotic medications have a much smaller side effect panel than in times past, but there are still problems. I've talked with many schizophrenics who have shared that they do not feel like themselves when they are taking medication, they always feel just a bit more dull and less sharp. Then there's the physical side effects such as dry mouth, restlessness, lethargy, and weight gain that come with some of the most effective anti psychotic medications. Not to mention that someone like my sister, who is paranoid, feels like it's everyone else who has the problems, why should she be taking some kind of medication?
I know God is in charge of the universe and there are many things that I do not understand. I am one of those people who just wants to make things right; I'm a "fixer". But this is not something I can fix.
5 hours ago